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College football best bets

We have extensively researched the markets to curate our college football best bets for Saturday of Week 5, concentrating on the best NCAAF odds available. This week, numerous college football teams across the country are participating in their second or third conference games, enabling us to distinguish the contenders from the pretenders.

On Friday night, Utah playing at Oregon State sets the stage for three more ranked-versus-ranked matchups on Saturday. No. 3 Texas aims to move closer to playing for a Big 12 Championship and securing a spot in the College Football Playoff as they host No. 24 Kansas. No. 13 LSU and No. 20 Ole Miss seek an advantage in the SEC West race when they meet in Oxford, while No. 11 Notre Dame attempts to bounce back from last week’s last-second loss by traveling to face No. 17 Duke.

Here are our college football best bets for Saturday of Week 5 (odds via our best college football betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

College football best bets for Saturday: Week 5

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Week 5 college football schedule and odds for Saturday

(odds via Caesars)

College football predictions

Xavier Weaver anytime touchdown scorer vs. USC (+100 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In the absence of two-way star Travis Hunter, who missed last week’s game against Oregon (and is out three or four weeks with a lacerated liver), Buffaloes wide receiver Xavier Weaver was the focal point of the passing game, hauling in nine passes for 75 yards. Weaver has had nine-plus catches in the last three games and averaged 114.3 receiving yards per game, and he has scored touchdowns in two of those three.

Even though Weaver has steep -155 odds to find the end zone, he still only has the fourth-highest anytime touchdown odds in a game that projects to be a shootout (the 74.5-point O/U makes it the only game this week with a total in the 70s). The Buffaloes are +21.5-point underdogs in this matchup, which means they will likely be throwing a lot because of negative game script. Thus, we are making this a five-star play, not only because of our confidence in Weaver to score but because of the insane value we are getting with this number, as DraftKings and FanDuel offer prices of -155 and -195, respectively.

Ben Bryant (Northwestern) Over 151.5 passing yards vs. Penn State (-115 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This may very well be Penn State head coach James Franklin’s most talented Nittany Lions team, especially on the defensive side, as they are tied for fourth in scoring defense (8.8 points per game allowed) and tops among FBS teams in total defense (219.5 yards per game allowed). However, we are looking to capitalize off the public’s perception that absolutely no team can move the ball against them, especially after they completely embarrassed Iowa in their annual white-out game. The Nittany Lions held Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara to just five completions and 42 yards passing, and the Hawkeyes totaled just 76 yards after possessing the ball for 14:33 on a wet and dreary night.

Northwestern is coming off by far its best offensive game of the season, recording more touchdowns (five) than it had in its first three games combined (four). Granted, it came against a porous Minnesota defense, but what stood out was how the Wildcats chose to attack the Golden Gophers. Minnesota came into the game ranked 93rd in defensive rushing success rate. Still, Northwestern attempted 51 passes to 29 rushes, and Ben Bryant became the first Wildcats quarterback to throw four touchdowns since Trevor Siemian in 2013.

Bryant will likely have fewer clean pockets to throw out of than he did against Minnesota (40, per Wildcat Report editor Matthew Shelton via PFF). Still, negative game script alone should allow Bryant enough opportunities to exceed this total. 

Bryant has the same total and odds (-115) at DraftKings, bet365, and Caesars, so there is nothing from a value perspective that bettors can sift through. 

Texas A&M Under 3.5 team total touchdowns vs. Arkansas (-110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

If we were backing Texas A&M’s Under team total of 30.5 points, we would make this a more confident four-star play, but the value in its Under of 3.5 total touchdowns was too good to pass up. 

The Texas A&M offense was held under 40 points in every game in 2022 and scored a touchdown on just 20% of offensive drives. The Aggies ranked 12th or worse in the conference in scoring (22.8 points per game), total offense (360.7) yards per game, total QBR (52), and points per drive (1.7). Now, the man responsible for much of that lack of production is back under center, as Max Johnson is the starting quarterback in the wake of Conner Weigman’s season-ending foot injury. 

Arkansas surrendered four touchdowns (all passing) to LSU and quarterback Jayden Daniels last week, but that was in a challenging night environment in Baton Rouge, and Daniels is a Heisman candidate, while Johnson will not sniff such consideration. 

This team total touchdown prop is specific just to DraftKings, but those more interested in the team total of 30.5 points can shop for the best price.

Kansas-Texas Over 61 (-110 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers did against Alabama, throwing for 349 yards and earning a PFF passing grade of 90.6 for that performance, should not be understated, given that the Crimson Tide have allowed 13 total points since then, and neither opposing quarterback (South Florida’s Byrum Brown or Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart) completed better than 57.1% of their passes. 

We know Texas will put up points in this matchup, as it ranks in the top 25 in explosiveness and faces a Jayhawks defense that is 124th in passing plays explosiveness and dead-last in finishing drives allowed.

This is also an opportunity for Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels to prove what he can do on one of the biggest stages he will play on all year. Daniels is the signal caller for a team that returned 91% of its offensive production from last year (most in FBS) and is coming off a season where his 87.9 total QBR was third among all FBS quarterbacks. There is a real possibility he faces a distracted Longhorns defense that could have its sights set on next week’s Red River Showdown battle with Oklahoma.

Caesars is the only sportsbook where one can back the Over of 61, as most other shops offer a total of 61.5, with BetRivers the highest at 62.    

College football best bets made 9/29/2023 at 6:06 a.m. ET.

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